Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Restoration Hardware "look alike"

I am so very pleased.  Here is my version of the Restoration Hardware Leaner Mirror.

Recently, I was looking to start an easy project to get familiar with the Kreg Jig.  I decided I wanted to make a Look Alike to the below.  The link to it is here.  I didn't need one that big and definitely did not need one that expensive!!

We started with the following supplies:
(5) 1x2x8 Furring Strips ($1.29 each)
(3) 1x4x12 Patterned Pine Boards ($3.59 each)
1 can of Dark Walnut Stain 
Kreg Jig
16 Pocket Screws
Brad Nailer
2 Ikea Minde Mirrors ($9.99 each)
1 package of 2-piece flush mount brackets
(8) dry wall anchors with screws
(2) sets of 4 Ook Metal Mirror clips

Optional for aesthetics or securing mirror:
1/2 Inch Paddle Bit
Additional drywall anchors and screws
1 package wooden plugs ($1.29)

I purchased the cheapest wood I could find at Lowes.  I am very glad I did because I absolutely love the knots and grain that were in the boards.  I wanted to show as much of the mirror as I could but I had to keep the mirror around 22-23" because the wall I wanted to mount these housed the gas fireplace switch.   

The mirror was 15.75" by 47.25".  I deducted a half an inch all the way around for the overlap of the mirror and 1x4.  The 1x4 was actually 3.5" wide so that was 3" of wood that would be added to the length of the mirror size.  We cut the long side boards to a length of 53.25  (47.25+3.5+3.5-.5-.5) inches and the short pieces to 14.75".  (15.75-.5-.5).

Next, we placed the cut wood on the floor to ensure it lined up.  We had a little help from a friend:)  We really normally shouldn't be doing wood projects in the house, but it was 96 degrees out and even HOTTER in my garage.  We chose air conditioning over practicality.

Placing the short pieces in the Kreg Jig we pre-drilled the holes.  While my husband was playing testing out the Kreg Jig, I used a meat mallet and a hammer to lightly add some character to the wood.  Liv hit it a few times with a socket wrench.  My husband didn't think the mallet was the best idea at the time.  (post stain it looks pretty good)

The next step was the hardest, I measured and then mitered the corners of the 1x2's.  I attached the 1x2's with the brad nailer.  Since the trim was just decorative the brads will hold nicely.

I was a bit excited by this point and you can see the mirror peeking behind the frame.  We used wood filler to fill in any gaps or imperfections caused by my cutting skills.

I wanted the mirrors to bring in some warmth and so I chose a Minwax Dark Walnut.  I used a cello sponge to wipe on the stain and an old t-shirt to wipe it off.

We then mounted the mirror to the back of the frame with Ook metal mirror clips here.  We used four per mirror.  If I was to make the mirrors again I would use two packages.  I saw some instances where glue was used to secure the mirrors to the frame, but I wanted the option to remove the mirror if I decided to use the frame elsewhere.

We screwed one side of the flush mount bracket (here) onto the back of the mirror and attached the other side to the wall using (4) drywall anchors and screws.  Since the mirror was only secured to the wall with the one bracket at the center top edge of each mirror, it allowed the mirror to move a bit. We decided in our home, it was best to attach the mirror by screwing the bottom corner into the wall as well and filling the hole made with wooden plugs.

I dumped the 1/2 inch plugs onto a paper plate and poured a bit of stain onto the plate.  I mixed them around.  For this part, I recommend leaving the wooden plugs to sit and absorb the stain a bit, the darker the plugs the better they look.  When they are too light, they blend in too much and you can't see them.

We then drilled 1/2 inch holes with a paddle bit in the mirror frame and secured the mirror to the wall with drywall anchors.  Make sure you remember to avoid the pocket screws.  We secured both mirrors with one screw in the lower right hand corners. With a toddler we didn't want the mirror to accidentally come off.  We also drilled 2-3 additional holes and inserted the plugs.  At first, I thought I only wanted a few plugs but think I would like more. At this point I noticed a bit of shifting of the mirror when mounted which is why even though I didn't, I would recommend more clips.  

Here is a photo of the 1/2 inch hole used to secure the mirror directly to the wall for added stability.

And filled with the 1/2 inch wooden plug

Here are my new twin mirrors flanking the fireplace

Sunday, June 29, 2014

DIY Grommet Top Curtain Panels

My new house has 10' ceilings.  When we moved in, none of my curtains were long enough.  We wanted to have curtains in all of the rooms for privacy.  Our old house was very dark and I did not wants white mini blinds on the first floor.  I wanted as much natural light to come in as possible!

We put Ikea curtains in all of the windows on the first floor.  They were fairly inexpensive and did the trick.  I have a habit of being too neutral and I am getting a bit too beige on beige.  Since we can't paint yet, I wanted to bring in a little color.  Curtains ARE EXPENSIVE!  I also like grommet top because they can easily be opened and closed.  My husband likes to close them and I come behind them and open them. 

I decided on these Farrah Fretwork Panels in blue from Target in 54"x95".  They were $29.99 a panel.  That was a lot more than the $9.99 a panel Ikea curtains.  They are more of a smokey blue color with a hint of green.  But, they only came in a rod pocket.  I decided to experiment with adding grommets.

Here are the tops of the curtains with grommets.

Here is a stock photo from Target of the Farrah Fretwork Panels (rod pocket)

Materials Needed

Curtain Panels
Dritz Grommets
Tape Measure
Metal L or T square or Meter Stick

I purchased 4 sets of Dritz Grommets from Walmart.  They did not have them in the store, I had them delivered site to store.  I purchased the brushed silver.  They have several different finishes.  They are made of plastic.  The brushed silver is not "metalesque" at all but from a distance you hardly notice.

Please make sure you measure your curtains first.  Out of the four panels I purchased, only one of them was actually 54 inches wide.  There are 8 grommets, so measure accordingly.

Then, mark your curtain panels with a pencil.  I used a pencil just in case I made any errors.  After I marked the measurements for the sections, I marked where the holes should be and used the provided template to mark the holes.

After I measured and marked all the holes and ensured they were the proper distance apart, I sat and stared at my $29.99 curtain panel for about 15 minutes.  I won't lie, I felt a bit anxious to cut holes in brand new curtain panels.

I texted my husband.  I'm not sure how that would have helped.  I finally cut a small slit in the fabric and it was now done..... I had just cut a hole in brand new $29.99 panels.

I aligned the hardware and pushed the two pieces together.  You have to be careful to cut on the template exactly.  If you cut too little (which I did at first) the hardware won't grip correctly and you can not snap the pieces together.  If you cut too much you run the risk of being able to see your hole around the hardware.

Align the hardware

Here is what the grommets look like snapped together.

Here is a shot of what the finish looks like against polished silver and brushed nickel.  You can see that it really is silver "colored" not metal.

Here is what they look like.  I put them in both my Living Room and Dining Room since the two rooms are connected.

All of my first floor curtain rods and hardware are from Ikea.  The rods are RACKA and the brackets are BETYDLIG.  They're cheap and I could get them all to match.

One of the things I found super about these is the ability to adjust them higher or lower.  This came in handy when I replaced the Ikea curtains for the Target Farrah curtains because adding the Grommets shortened the curtains slightly.  Since the plate seen below covers the bracket where they are fastened to the wall, you can't see it unlike traditional brackets.

Here is the top of the curtains with the Grommets

Here is the before and After of the Dining Room......

And I also replaced the curtains in the Living Room as well.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Minwax Polyshades on Round Top Stool

One of my favorite features of my kitchen is our enormous island.  I remember when I was first looking at this floor plan, prior to seeing the model, I was contemplating not getting the island.  My realtor at the time looked at me, raised her brow and asked "Have you seen the island??"  I got the island.

Materials Needed

Stool of choice
Minwax Polyshades (color of your choice)
foam brush
foam roller

I didn't want to spend a lot of money since I wasn't quite sure what stools I wanted but, I knew we needed stools.  I purchased three of these beauties at Target for I believe they were $14.99 each.  We have a couch in our living room and everyone sits around the island on these.  My only complaint is that my kitchen has espresso cabinets, my morning room has a very dark stained table and these were a tad too light for my liking.

I really like the look of distressed furniture.  However, I was afraid if I painted the furniture, the paint would peel or rub off when my guests sat upon the stools.  I decided to paint the chairs with Minwax Polyshades.  Minwax Polyshades has coloring that is suspended inside of polyurethane.  

I do not like to do a lot of preparation work when it comes to painting.  I like to see quick results.  I purchased some of the "fake" Scotch Brite pads at Family Dollar. I read a post that using the Scotch Brite pads was better for this project than steel wool as the pads didn't leave a residue.

When I picked up the Polyshades, the only color at Lowes was Classic Black in gloss.  The Lowes associate told me that there wasn't a high demand for the Polyshades and their colors were limited.  I really wanted a different color and sheen but wanted to try the Polyshades.

I started by gently sanding the stools with the Scotch Brite pads.  When I say lightly, I mean I went over them quickly in less than ten minutes.  I next applied the stain to the stools.  I painted it on and did not pull it back on.  I previously have used a gel stain by General Finishes in Java and think they both applied the same, but I think the Polyshades was a bit thinner and I definitely liked the consistency better.

Starting with the stool on it's top, I worked from the top (which was toward the floor) I put the first coat on primarily with a small 6" foam roller.  I tried applying the stain with my hand in a sock and the roller worked much better.  It did a fairly good job of getting most of the spots on the stool and the coverage was good.  Some of the spots didn't adhere but I didn't want to go too heavy with the first coat.  

This is what the stool looked like after the first coat.  You can see where in some of the corners and in some places the coverage was sparse.  I let this dry overnight.

On evening 2, I took the Scotch Brite pads and sanded any place where I saw I had dripped the stain or any area the paint was too think.  This was fairly easy.  The paint didn't get gunky or peel when I did this.  It sanded pretty easily.

I used the roller again and did a second coat over all of the stools.  This time, I used a foam brush and in some cases used a Q-tip to get into some of the tight corners.  You can only use the Q-tip once or twice as the paint gets sticky and cotton sticks to your piece.

Here is the stool after the second coat.  Because the stain has Polyeurathane in it, it did a really good job of self leveling itself.  I had virtually no brush strokes.  I would have preferred a less glossy finish but like that they don't look like they were "painted".  I absolutely love the tops.   

Here are the stools finished one month later.  They have been pushed around by a one year old, sat on by various neighbors and our family.

The only thing I did notice was in some areas I had a heavy hand, it orange peeled a bit.  You can see it in the below picture but only if you look closely.  I haven't decided if I want to distress them or not. If I do, I will sand those areas and then spray them with a Matte Spray.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Faux Roman Shades

When we first moved into our New Rome Home, I purchased fabric for the Ottoman and some fabric for the loft.  The fabric for the loft was on clearance and was only a few yards.  It was under $10 for the fabric which I love because it incorporates the tone on tone/gray/beige that I am striving for.

Recommended Product List
Liquid Stitch or Sewing Machine
Meter/Yard Stick
Tape Measure
Clothes Iron
12 Ikea Racka Brackets (side mount)
6 Ikea Racka Rods
Small mounting screws for brackets
Sewing Pins

There were several different tutorials online on the best way to make the faux Roman Shades.  The shades end up being somewhat "fixed" (do not move) and you inside mount rods (or use tension rods) to control how you want the fabric to lay.  This was an option I liked as I have a toddler and also didn't want to spend time adjusting the curtains.

I only had enough fabric for a single layer, I actually tore out the rod pocket at the top and the bottom hem and added a liner due to the light filtering through and I didn't like how they hung on the particular rod I used.  I will show you both ways.

Single layer Faux Roman Shades

I wanted my shades to fit inside of my window casings so I measured my windows and added 2 inches on all sides for my hems.  For the top, I added and additional four inches to allow for a rod pocket to slide the curtain rod through to attach to the window.  I wanted to try the No Sew version and used Liquid Stitch for the hems.

I placed my fabric on the floor of the loft and cut it in half for my two windows.  I then aligned the fabric side by side so that the curtains were identical and the patterns would match when hung on the windows.  I used the yard stick and tape measure to measure for my hem allowances and then pinned all of the hems and measured again.  I used the iron to create nice crisp edge.

I used the liquid stitch to secure the hem on all sides leaving a space where the rod would enter the rod pocket.  I used a good amount of glue creating a wavy line down the length and across the top and bottom of the fabric.  I let this dry while I measured the windows to mount the brackets.

Some of the other tutorials recommend you use tension rods to hang the curtain.  Because they are moveable it does help with placement of the shade However, I wasn't sure how heavy the end curtain would be and I do not like how tension rods "sag" over time.  Also, tension rods are affected by temperature and it causes them to just fall sporadically.  I permanently mounted rods to my windows.

I used the IKEA Racka rods with their Racka side mount brackets. 

The Ikea brackets have a screw that secures the rod in place.  For the TOP rod ONLY, I actually secured the rod using the screw more toward the top of the bracket, this allowed the fabric when draped over the rod to be closer to top of the window and also helped camouflage the bracket.

Notice on the second rod, it is resting as it should in the well the bracket.  

Measuring the rod placement was a bit of a challenge.  This is where the tension rods is probably a lot less stressful as you can move them around to get the desired feel/equal distance.

I used very little true calculations.  I estimated the spot on the window that was the highest possible point on the window I would ever want uncovered by fabric and marked a spot inside the window casing.

I measured the distance from the top of the window to my mark and rounded to the nearest measurement easily divisible by 3, it was 21.  I then divided that by 3 (for the three rods).  
Because you drape the curtain over the rod to create the roman shade the lowest rod will always be covered with fabric.  This mark should be fairly close to your original estimate.

I then used my tape measure to mark 7", 14" and 21" on both sides of the window.  I screwed my mounts in place and secured the rods.  Because you can manipulate the fabric, as long as your rods are level, if you are a smidge off with your measurements it's ok.

Having the rods mounted is better for my family.  I like that these can't be pulled down (by a toddler) or fall accidentally.  If there comes a time when I want privacy, since they are only folded over the rods a quick pull on the bottom and they will cover the window.  It might take a few minutes to adjust them back again but not too terrible.

When I first mounted the curtains, notice how they don't filter out much light?  This room gets very warm and since it's open to the top floor, I wanted them to block more light.  I also didn't like how because the brackets were a bit higher than the rod the edges were a little uneven.  If these had been tension rods, it probably would have hung better, since the tension rods are fairly level with no brackets.

Single Layer turned (lined) Faux Roman Shades

I took the curtains down and decided to add backing/liner to them.  I had some solid color beige colored curtains that I was no longer using and followed the same procedure to measure and hem these to make the liner. My liner fabric coordinated with my patterned fabric but you could always double your patterned fabric and just make your curtain twice as long.

I will say that the liquid stitch held very nicely and it wasn't very easy to tear out the hems.  I tore out the rod pocket hem and also the bottom hem.  I ironed the creases out and used my new liner to create one big ring of fabric.  The end result looks like one of those Eternity Scarves. 

I did use my machine to sew the two pieces (short end to short end) together.

I hung the new "lined" curtains back up and instantly realized why so many others doubled up on the fabric.  Either using coordinating fabric or a continuous piece of the patterned fabric.  The added weight and the lining (more fabric) really added dimension and stability to the curtains.  

Once up, you can manipulate the fabric to however you would like.  Right now, I like the equal sections but will probably change the configuration to something more like this.

Two folds

3 Folds (stacked closer to bottom)

3 Folds (stacked close to bottom)

3 folds (stacked more equally)

Here is what the curtains look like from the outside (back of curtains).  All you can see is the lining and no pattern.  You need to keep in mind what you want the world to see.  :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Quick Patio Furniture Rehab

I purchased this patio set YEARS AGO.  The store has long since closed.  I think it was $150 maybe a tad more.  My favorite color is green which is why I purchased this set.  In my first ever apartment, I had a green sofa set and this green patio set.  The sofa set was given away some time ago when I realized a forest green sofa and love seat were extremely hard to decorate around especially with blue carpet.  But, the patio set has remained.

My daughter teases me about the only reason I have this patio set still is because it is green.  I think I have this patio set because it was the first "furniture" purchase I made in that first ever apartment.  My own earned money, my own has meaning for me.

My husband detests this set, I think due to it's wonderful color and it actually didn't make it over to our new house initially.  This weekend I made him go and retrieve it from our storage shed and promised him I would make it beautiful.

We went to garden ridge and looked through all of the Patio Cushions and agreed upon a red and white set.  They satisfied both my husband and myself.

It's amazing what two cans of spray paint can do.  I debated between brown or black and with the red cushions I decided on using black.  I used Valspar Black Flat spray paint from Lowe's.

Here is the before and after.

I did take the table apart to get to all of the pieces.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Recovering my "Free" Ottoman

My mother had this ottoman.  It has seen better days.  But, it is quite large and I would think to purchase a new one would be more than I am willing to pay.  In our old house, we would always put our feet on the coffee table and it would scratch and dent it.  Doing so, ALSO, caused someone who will remain nameless to kick any contents off the table.

Here is the old Ottoman Recovered

Tools I used:
Flat Head Screw Driver
Needle Nosed Pliers
Locking/Vice Grip Pliers
Butter knife
Staple Gun (Heavy Duty)
3/4" Heavy Duty Staples
3 Yards of Burlap Fabric at 1/2 off ($46)
Covered Button Kit - 1/2 inch Buttons ($10)
Wooden Skewer
Tapestry Needle
Twine (to thread buttons)
Dictionary of Curse Words

Items I would recommend that I didn't use:
Fabric Glue/No Sew Glue
Extra Batting
Long Sleeve Shirt :)

Ottoman Pre-demolishion

To Start this project, I made the buttons first.  I used the Covered Button Kit I bought at Walmart. I actually purchased a kit at Hancock Fabrics when I bought my fabric but realized they were too big.  Luckily I found some at Walmart.  I purchased the 1/2 inch size.  I cut my fabric into 1 inch squares and used the kit to wrap and cover the buttons.  Half way through the 16 I had to make, I realized using a hammer to sandwich the fabric between the pieces was a lot easier than using my thumbs.  Don't use the hammer to pound, just push the pieces together using the hammer as leverage.  I would recommend putting a dollop of glue to secure the buttons.  I had to take a few of mine back out because the covers popped off.

Next, I put the Ottoman upside down and used the Flat Head Screw Driver and Butter knife to pry out any staples from the liner and remove the (in my case) black liner that was on the bottom covering the fabric rough edges.  Keep in mind that the smoother your end results the nicer the new fabric will lay.  Try to remove all staples you can.  If you do leave a staple or too, use the hammer to ensure they are flush with the ottoman frame.  Do not leave too many as you will need the frame to secure your fabric and then the liner at the end.  Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to remove the feet of my Ottoman, so I left them on.  

I also left my lining secured at all four corners since I couldn't remove the feet.  If you are going to re-use your lining be careful not to pull it or it will stretch and become uneven.  I knew I would re-use the lining and with it remaining I could line it up later perfectly.  My lining did become a bit misshapen but it's on the bottom so only I will know that....and you.

Next, my ottoman had leather edging in the middle and on the bottom and I again used my butter knife and screwdriver to pry the staples out.  Once I was able to get a good length removed, I could just pull with the vice grips and the edging and staples pulled out fairly easily.

Next, I removed the lower section of "leather".  I made note of how the leather was attached to the ottoman.  On my ottoman I had two sections of foam  The foam was secured to the frame except for a two inches that was not glued down at the top of the section.  The upper section of leather was tucked under the lower section of foam and stapled, so that the rough edge of fabric was hidden.  Then, the lower section came up and then tucked under the lower section of foam as well hiding it's rough edge and the staples used to secure the upper fabric.  Any staples showing were hidden by the middle section of edging.

Next, I removed the sides of the upper portion of my Ottoman, I cut the twine that was holding the buttons on.  I then removed the buttons and saved the twine for later. On my Ottoman, the button twine was secured to the bottom of my frame which was good for me and I cut the twine as long as I could so I could re-use it and this left some dangling inch or two of twine.  I removed the staples and removed the twine remnants.  David came home at this point and I had about 4 inches of leather still attached on one of the sides.  He took the pliers and pulled it off and goes "huh, that was easy to take off wasn't it" like the WHOLE process didn't just take me hours to complete.  I almost killed him.

Here it shows where I cut all the twine as close to the frame as I could to be able to re-use the twine.  To the right shows the lining still attached at the feet.

The next time I recover this, I will add more batting to the top.  I would have liked it a bit softer.

Next, I laid the fabric over the ottoman top and let it hang on all four sides.  Since I had made a note that my fabric had been tucked under the bottom section foam, I allowed about 1 inch on all sides past the top of the second layer of foam.  This gave me about 7-8 inch overhang from the top of the ottoman.  I used a piece of chalk to lightly mark my cut line.  It took me about 5-10 minutes of staring at the ottoman to make sure I was measuring correctly before I got the confidence to cut the fabric.

I decided to do the top and attach the buttons first.  I used the left over twine and threaded through the button and then threaded BOTH ends of the twine through the needle.  I then went through the top, through the fabric and then into the ottoman.  Since the buttons had been there previously it was fairly easy to re-use their holes.  DO NOT push too hard.  If you have found the hole it will go through easily.  There were a few holes that the batting was off slightly and I couldn't find the hole in the frame through the top.  I used the skewer to go in from the back of the frame.  I then put the needle next to the skewer and then used it it guide my needle through.  This was the most time consuming part.  We tried taping the needle to the skewer and the tape got stuck...we found just guiding it through worked best.  I bent one of the plastic needles (to its death) trying to search for the hole.

This is also where the long sleeved shirt would have been helpful.  Because you have to reach around the sides to guide the needle through, any sharp staples you missed will make contact.

I stapled the twine to the back of the inside of the frame.  Since I re-used my twine I couldn't reach all the way to the outer edge like it was.  I just used a zig zag pattern two or three times and the staple gun to secure the twine.  This will also make it easier (and I did have to when the buttons pop off since I didn't use glue).

Next, I secured the fabric to the frame with the Staple Gun.  I originally used 3/8 inch staples and they were too long and wouldn't sit flush to the frame.

Our stapler was being loaned at the time and David went and bought me a new one with staples.
 *Tip - when buying a stapler you must use Light Duty staples in a Light Duty Stapler.  You can not use Heavy Duty Staples in a Light Duty Stapler.   

Why Walmart only sells these TWO items is beyond me??  Luckily, the purchased 1/4inch heavy duty staples worked great with my old Staple Gun once we recovered it.  We now have a Light Duty Stapler to return.

You need to pull the fabric very tightly.  I was afraid of hurting the fabric and didn't pull tight enough.  I may have to go back and tighten the fabric on mine.  But, with two dogs and a one year old, it will probably get dirty before I get time to do that :)

See how my fabric is "pooking" a little?  I think if I had pulled it a smidge tighter it would not do that.

For the bottom section, I was able to use the remaining fabric lengthwise and I measured a two inch overhang on both sides.  Two inches to wrap under the bottom and two inches to wrap and tuck under this section of foam.  My section of foam was 8 inches wide so I added added four inches and cut the section.  It was just about two inches longer than each side which was perfect so I didn't have to wrap four separate pieces.

Again, my feet could not be removed so I had to tuck my fabric under my feet and then re-adjust the lining to cover the rough edges and align with the outer end of your frame.  

To do the corners, I wrapped it similar to a present, or a hospital corner on a bed sheet.  I did not want to sew this project.

 I tucked the newly made corner under the lower section
From left to right, the bottom section where I wrapped the fabric around the foam and tucked back under.

From the right, the top section where the fabric is being tucked under the foam of the bottom section.
Next, I secured all the corners and tucked all the sides.  It became a little difficult for the last side since I was connecting the two lower sections of fabric and ensuring the top was secured as well.  It came out pretty good I think.  The middle isn't as "clean" as I would like and I might purchase some nail head trim to cover where you can see the puckers from the staples.

Here is the side positioned and ready to be stapled.
Stapled and secured.